Gift giving when it comes to kids can sometimes feel like a nightmare. As parents, we are often wading through toys to get to the bathroom, where we’re confronted with more toys in the bath and the shower. Once we put those toys away, we’re AGAIN confronted by the dreaded ‘under the bed’ vortex where all good toys go to die. After tidying that up, we stack it over some Lego in the hallway. It’s enough to make even the toughest parent tear up.
But what if there’s another way? What if there are gifts that AREN’T toys? What if there’s some magic cure that allows us to stop struggling against the incoming tide of toys that go bleep and bloop and open our lives to a little more zen (and a little less plastic).
Here are some great ideas for gifts that AREN’T toys that you can start employing in your own home.
Non-toy gifts: Books
It goes without saying that a little literature goes a long way. Introducing more books into your home will help foster a love of learning and reading in your household that will help your children immensely when it comes to their school work. Children who read more at home, and who are read to, have advantages over other students when it comes to comprehension, creativity and control over word and letter formation.
Books are great gifts. You can inscribe them with loving messages, display them, stack them up and store them with ease. Books look fantastic out in the living room (unlike merchandised toys with a million bits and pieces) and they’re super portable. Imagine the calm and peace if your entire family is tucked up on the couch, reading away. Fewer fights over TV shows and screens is an added bonus!
Gifts that aren’t toys: Plants
Plants, you say? Yes! Encouraging green thumbs in your home is a perfect gift for the whole family. You can grow easy plants like succulents, try something a little trickier like growing a herb garden or throw your whole self in with a veggie patch.
Promoting gardening in your home is a great way to get active in the great outdoors with your little ones. You will be teaching them lessons about sustainability and you will be encouraging their understanding when it comes to nature and their place in it. Plus? Your garden will look pretty AND you might just be able to grow your own vegetables! Imagine the cooking fun you’ll have if that wish comes true!
Presents that aren’t toys: Experiences
Explore the world (or your own backyard) with your kids instead of showering them with gifts. Take a trip to that theme park you’ve always wanted to go to. Take long bushwalks or bike rides. Go on a road trip and stop for icecream. Tap into their special area of interest and take them go-karting or horse riding. Book a farm stay holiday. Head to the beach.
These are all fantastic ideas that AREN’T toys. Your kids will value the time and effort you put into making an experience memorable far more than the fact you dropped a hot $50 at Kmart for a toy they’ll have forgotten about by tomorrow.
Oh, and while you’re out? Take some pictures. And make sure that you’re in them, too.
Gifts that aren’t toys: Time
How do kids spell love? T. I. M. E.
Look at your schedule. How can you move things around so you can spend more quality time with your children? Is there an opportunity for a family walk or trip to the park? Could you do colouring in or cooking together? Is a quick game of hide and seek around the house really going to kill you if it takes about ten minutes?
When our kids are grown, they will not remember the plastic toys you brought them from Kmart. Their video games will be a distant memory. Fights over the latest technology will be long forgotten.
What our kids WILL remember is how and when we showed up for them. When we laughed with them until our stomachs hurt. When we dried their tears and helped them to get up and try again.
Kids crave connection. Rather than shoving plastic presents down their throats at all times, consider how you might be able to restructure your home life to make room for a little more time. Start small and see if you can build it up. You would be surprised at the opportunities for connection that you have been missing at your ‘million miles an hour’ pace.
Giving non-toy gifts
Hopefully, you have found this article inspiring and you now have some ideas of your own. Can you think of any ideas we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments and share the love!
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